Great For Those Who Are Independent Past Review

By (History/French, University of Maine - Orono) - abroad from 01/07/2015 to 04/27/2015 with

University of Montreal: Montreal - Direct Enrollment and Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My language skills improved, and I feel like I understand more about the links between the US and Canada, as well as Quebec and Canada. I also know much more about the culture of Quebec as a whole.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

This direct exchange, especially when starting mid-year, is very hands off. You are expected to pretty much figure everything out by yourself. There is one seminar in the beginning, but almost all of the information is common sense or on the website for the Maison internationale already.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My university did not help me find a place to live, only suggesting a program to find rooms with other exchange students. The service I used, getyourplace, is not one I would recommend to other people. I had lots of roommates who were very uncooperative, a demanding landlord, fees at every turn, and no sense of community to go along with it.

* Food:

I can't speak on the food at my institution, but the local food was delicious. Lots of variety.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As I said, the university did next to nothing to help me feel integrated, and I had to live off-campus, so I did not feel a part of the local culture at all. Most other students were focused on taking classes and then leaving rather than socializing.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Hands-off administration basically left me with no place to turn when I had health issues. The university clinic was booked for several months in advance, and the insurance provided was not taken by the majority of clinics. Not helpful at all. Lines were long at clinics, and wait times were up to 10 hours in some of them.

* Safety:

Montreal is a safe city, in general. I didn't experience any crime, though one of my roommates had her phone stolen, so you should still pay attention to your personal items while in crowded places.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I got a substantial amount of money to live on from the Killam Fellowships program, but Montreal is a fairly cheap city, especially in terms of rent and groceries.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 100CAD, which (at the time) was around $80
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Invest in an OPUS card for students for transit. The reduced fare is worth a lot when it comes to four months of travel.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

My program did not encourage me to do anything (hands off), but it was expected that I would complete my studies in French.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 400
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Meet people who speak the language, and do your schoolwork always in French even when there is the option to do it in English.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Educational aspect
  • Financial support
  • The location
* What could be improved?
  • Housing situation
  • Social integration
  • Support in general
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How much my university would not help me feel integrated and how much it would really suck to live in an off-campus apartment, even though my university, at the beginning, told me that there were no dorms available.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!